in ,

UCO Opens season against Ouachita Baptist

No. 3-ranked Central Oklahoma embarks on its quest for a second straight NCAA Division II national championship Wednesday when the Bronchos travel to Little, Rock, Ark. to open the 2023-24 season against Ouachita Baptist.

The two teams will tangle at 7 p.m. at Jack Stephens Center on the Little Rock campus, with the host Trojans meeting Carl Albert State College at the same time on an adjacent mat.

It’s also the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association debut for OBU, which joined the league as an associate member in wrestling this summer. UCO is gunning for its fourth consecutive MIAA title.

“We’re anxious to get started and see where we are,” said head coach Todd Steidley, who is 86-12 entering his eighth year at the helm. “We have a bunch of new faces in the lineup, so it will be interesting to see how they react against outside competition.

“Our guys have been working hard to get ready. It’s a long season and we just want to concentrate on getting better every day and staying as healthy as we can.”

The Bronchos follow Wednesday’s dual with their first home appearance of the season, hosting the UCO Open Sunday. First-round action starts at 10 a.m. at Hamilton Field House.

PROBABLE LINEUPS: Here are the probable starters for the dual, with UCO wrestler listed first.

125 – Guy Clevenger, RS. Fr. vs. Karsten Holmes, Fr.; 133 – Peter Rolle, Jr. vs. Jimmy Anderson, So.; 141 – Ryder Ramsey, So. vs. Hudson Herring, Jr.; 149 – Antonio George, So. vs. Zander Fields, Jr.; 157 – Gabe Johnson, So. vs. Jaylon Otero, Jr.; 165 – Hunter Jump, Jr. vs. Sam Schmidt, Fr.; 174 – Zane Coleman, Jr. vs. Riley Courtney, Fr.; 184 – Garrett Wells, RS Fr. vs. Parker Henry, Fr.; 197 – Emmanuel Skillings, So. vs. Brooks Schrimsher, Jr.; Hvy – Braden Morgan, Jr. vs. Donald Paul, Sr.

ABOUT THE BRONCHOS: UCO has just one of its six returning starters in the opening-day lineup – All-American Gabe Johnson, who enters the season ranked No. 2. He went 33-7 last year, won the regional title and finished seventh in the national tournament.

National champions Dalton Abney and Shawn Streck along with All-Americans Dylan Lucas and Anthony DesVigne and national qualifier Studd Morris won’t be in action. Streck will miss the first part of the season due to semester limitations, while Morris suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

Ryder Ramsey, Emmanuel Skillings and Braden Morgan all saw extensive action last season. Ramsey went 19-4 with eight falls, while Skillings had a 6-1 record and Morgan was 14-1 with six bonus-point wins.

Peter Rolle, Antonio George and Hunter Jump wrestled sparingly last year. Jump went 22-7 while starting for the Bronchos in 2021-22, then missed most of last season to injury.

Guy Clevenger, Zane Coleman and Garrett Wells will all be making their official UCO debuts Wednesday.

Clevenger and Wells redshirted last year and Coleman transferred from Arizona State. Clevenger went 17-7 in five open tournaments and Wells was 16-1 while winning three open titles and finishing runner-up in another.

ABOUT THE TIGERS: Ouachita Baptist has five starters back from last year’s team that finished 7-6 in duals and eighth in the Super Regional IV Tournament that UCO won.

Jaylon Otero (157) and Brooks Schrimsher (197) both finished fifth in the regional. Other returning starters are 133 Jimmy Anderson, 141 Hudson Herring and 149 Zander Fields.

The Tigers have four freshmen in their starting lineup.

UCO owns a big 13-2 advantage in the series and has won the last six meetings.

What do you think?

64 points
Upvote Downvote

Leave a Reply